Nowadays, Athens, Georgia, is a hotbed of left-of-center alt-rock acts. (Think: Of Montreal, Danger Mouse, and recent S.B. stoppers-by Reptar). Back in the ’70s, though, the Athens scene was an as-yet-unknown musical epicenter. That is, until The B-52s came along. Since forming in 1975, the kitschy pop rockers (alongside notable icons like REM and Neutral Milk Hotel) have helped to put their little college town on the musical map — and inspired a whole slew of oddball acts in the process. With 30 years of history, and an unmistakable aesthetic, The B-52s are known today for penning some of modern rock’s most tried-and-true party tunes (“Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack”). And on Thursday, January 12, at 8 p.m., the band brings that party to the South Coast, where they’ll take the stage at the Majestic Ventura Theater (26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura) for a night’s worth of live music well worth the drive. For just a few reasons to make the trek, check out our list of B-52s goodies below. For tickets and information, call 653-0721 or visit venturatheater.net.
1) The Outfits: Fewer bands have mastered the look, or gained as much notoriety for their duds, as The B-52s. Since first landing on the charts with “Rock Lobster” in 1978, the group has conjured images of outlandish color palettes, over-the-top outfits, and mile-high hairdos that put most John Waters characters to shame. Better yet, the quirky, tiki-chic aesthetic has stayed with them all these years, and will no doubt incite more than a few fans to dress up for the live show.
2) The Hits: There’s no denying that New Wave hit its peak in the 1980s, with bands like Devo, Culture Club, The Talking Heads, and The B-52s leading the “weirder-is-better” charge. As such, synth-heavy, spoken-word-driven songs like “Love Shack,” “Planet Claire,” and “Private Idaho” have become The B-52s’ calling cards, and remain some of the most fun-loving and party-starting jams of the era.
3) The Delivery: Call-and-response deliveries are nearly as old as lyrical music itself, but The B-52s undoubtedly ushered the style into a whole new era. Frontman Fred Schneider and leading ladies Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson play off each other like few others, and the combination of his monotone speak-sing and their lilting vocal tones has become the band’s oddly intoxicating signature. And with a tour schedule that’s been going strong since 2008, you can bet these three are still at the tip-top of their game.